No Denard Robinson, no problem.
Backup quarterback Devin Gardner started in place of Robinson, the injured star quarterback for Michigan, and led the Wolverines to a 35-13 road win against the Gophers.
Gardner, a junior from Detroit, was able to make plays with his feet, extending plays and finding open receivers after the play had broken down. He found receiver Drew Dileo for a 45-yard strike in the second quarter for Michigan’s first touchdown.
Minnesota quarterback Philip Nelson did not match his upstart performance against Purdue last week, completing only 13-of-29 passes for 141 yards, a touchdown, and no interceptions.
Running backs Donnell Kirkwood and Rodrick Williams ran for 51 and 38 yards, respectively. Nelson also added 44 yards on 13 attempts.
The game was a good showing of the improvements the Gophers have made since last year’s meeting with Michigan, in which the Gophers lost 58-0.
But despite Robinson’s absence in this game in contrast to last year’s game at Michigan, Gardner filled in perfectly, completing 12-of-18 passes for 234 yards, two touchdowns and an interception while also rushing for a touchdown.
Questionable play calls by the Gophers may have made this outcome closer than it was. Failed fourth-down conversions, including an awful field goal fake on 4th-and-16 left points on the field.
Minnesota falls to 5-4 with a 1-4 Big Ten Conference record while Michigan is now 6-3 with a 4-1 conference record.
The Gophers travel to play Illinois next week with three more games left on the schedule.